Famous Tap Dancers: Top 10 Inspiring Mentors To Boost You In 2024

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Famous Tap Dancers

Any kind of dancing is enjoyable in its own way, but tap dancing is precisely so fun! Tap dancing has a lengthy history of development and change. Tap dancers and tap dancing became famous in the early to mid-20th century when British and West African Musical fused. At that time, tap dancers became an overpowering force in the world culture, specifically in America. There are various tap dancers all over the world, but here we have a few of the greatest tap dancers in particular. If you are interested in knowing about some famous tap dancers in detail, scroll down before you start getting your dancing shoes on!

Famous Tap Dancers

1. Gregory Hines

Gregory Hines is one of the most well-known tap dancers of all time. He is also known to be a professional actor, choreographer, and singer. His best-known works include Wolfen (1981), White Nights (1985), The Cotton Club (1984), Running Scared (1986), The Gregory Hines Show (1997-1998), Will and Grace (1999-2000), and he is also known for being ‘Big Bill’ in Little Bill (1999-2004) as a voice-over artist.

FULL NAME GREGORY OLIVER HINES
BORN ON FEBRUARY 14TH, 1946
PLACE OF BIRTH NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
NATIONALITY AMERICAN
DIED ON AUGUST 9TH, 2003 (AGED 57)
PLACE OF DEATH LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
CEMETERY AT SAINT VOLODYMYR UKRAINIAN CEMETERY OAKVILLE, ONTARIO, CANADA
OCCUPATIONS TAP DANCER, ACTOR, CHOREOGRAPHER, SINGER
YEARS ACTIVE 1951-2003
SPOUSES PATRICIA PANELLA (MARRIED IN 1968, DIVORCED IN 1972), PAMELA KOSLOW (MARRIED IN 1981, DIVORCED IN 2000)
PARTNERS NEGRITA JAYDE (2000-2003)
CHILDREN TWO
RELATIVES MAURICE HINES (BROTHER)

 

2. Eleanor Powell

Eleanor Powell is one of the most famous tap dancers that ever came into existence! Her tap dancing became most famous during the 1930s and 1940s. She was a part of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s top dancers. She worked in a few movie musicals such as Born to Dance (1936), Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), Rosalie (1937), and Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940). However, she died from cancer at the age of sixty-nine. She is known as the most versatile celebrity that is known to Hollywood.

FULL NAME ELEANOR TORREY POWELL
BORN ON 21ST NOVEMBER, 1912
PLACE OF BIRTH SPRINGFIELD MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES
DIED ON 11TH FEBRUARY, 1982 (AGED 69)
PLACE OF DEATH BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
RESTING PLACE HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY
OCCUPATIONS TAP DANCER, ACTRESS
YEARS ACTIVE 1928-1953
SPOUSE GLENN FORD (MARRIED IN 1943, DIVORCED IN 1959)
CHILDREN ONE (PETER FORD)
NATIONALITY AMERICAN

 

3. Fred Astaire

famous tap dancers

One of the most versatile and loved personalities in the Hollywood Industry, Fred Astaire is known for his popularity. He is a multitalented personality who is a tap dancer, an actor, a singer, a choreographer, and a presenter. Fred Astaire received many awards during his time including three Primary Emmy Awards, an Honorary Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and a Grammy Award. In 1973, he contributed to the Film Society of Lincoln Center. In 1980, he was honored with the Kennedy Center Honors. He also received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1980. He was persuaded and then he later joined the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1972, and the Television Hall of Fame in 1989.

FULL NAME FREDERICK AUSTERLITZ
NATIONALITY AMERICAN
BORN ON 10TH MAY, 1899
PLACE OF BIRTH OMAHA, NEBRASKA, UNITED STATES
DIED ON 22ND JUNE, 1987 (AGED 88)
PLACE OF DEATH LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
RESTING PLACE OAKWOOD MEMORIAL PARK CEMETERY
OCCUPATIONS TAP DANCER, ACTOR, SINGER, CHOREOGRAPHER, PRESENTER
YEARS ACTIVE 1904-1981
SPOUSES PHYLLIS LIVINGSTON POTTER (MARRIED IN 1933, DIVORCED IN 1954),

ROBYN SMITH (MARRIED IN 1980)

CHILDREN TWO
RELATIVES ADELE ASTAIRE (SISTER)

 

Musical Career of Fred Austerlitz include:

INSTRUMENTS VOCALS, PERCUSSION, PIANO, ACCORDION, CLARINET
LABELS MGM RECORDS, RCA VICTOR DECCA RECORDS, COLUMBIA RECORDS, BRUNSWICK RECORDS

 

4. Savion Glover

famous tap dancers

Savion Glover is a famous American tap dancer who is also an actor and a choreographer. Glover was born to a mixed family of a white father and a black mother. Glover acted and choreographed in many movies and television series. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Driving Me Crazy in 1988- as an audition artist, first run
  • Tap in 1989
  • Bamboozled in 2000
  • The Making of Bamboozled in 2001
  • Timeless in 2000
  • Happy Feet in 2006
  • Happy Feet 2 in 2011
  • Shangri-La Plaza in 1990
  • Sesame Street in 1990-1995
  • The Wall in 1998
  • The Talk in 2018
  • The Jamie Foxx Show in 1999
  • Saturday Night Live in 1999
FULL NAME SAVION GLOVER
NATIONALITY AMERICAN
BORN ON 19TH NOVEMBER, 1973
PLACE OF BIRTH NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES
AGE FIFTY
OCCUPATIONS TAP DANCER, ACTOR, CHOREOGRAPHER
YEARS ACTIVE 1985-2024 (PRESENT)
WEBSITE www.saviongloverproductions.com

 

 

5. Ann Miller

famous tap dancers

One of the most classic and best tap dancers ever known is Ann Miller. She is well-recognized for her work in the Classical Hollywood Cinema Musicals of the 1940s and 1950s. She worked in numerous numbers of movies such as

  • Anne of Green Gables
  • The Good Fairy
  • The Devil on Horseback
  • Room Service

Some of her most famous works include Easter Parade in 1948, On the Town in 1949, and Kiss Me Kate in 1953. Her final role as an actress was in the movie Mulholland Drive in 2001.

NAME ANN MILLER
REAL NAME JOHNIE LUCILLE COLLIER
BORN ON 12TH APRIL, 1923
PLACE OF BIRTH ST. JOSEPH’S INFIRMARY, HOUSTON, TEXAS, UNITED STATES
NATIONALITY AMERICAN
DIED ON 22ND JANUARY, 2004 (AGED 80)
PLACE OF DEATH LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
CEMETERY AT HOLY CROSS CEMETERY, CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
OCCUPATIONS TAP DANCER, ACTRESS, SINGER
YEARS ACTIVE 1934-2004
SPOUSES REESE LLEWELLYN MINER (MARRIED IN 1946, DIVORCED IN 1947),

BILL MOSS (MARRIED IN 1958, DIVORCED IN 1961),

ARTHUR CAMERON (MARRIED IN 1961, DIVORCED IN 1962

CHILDREN ONE

 

6. Sammy Davis Jr.

The most famous Sammy Davis Junior is known for his singing, tap dancing, and a great sense of humor. Born in New York City, Sammy Davis Junior is a recognized actor, dancer, singer, and comedian. He won one Grammy Award in 2001 and one Emmy Award in the year of 1990.

NAME SAMMY DAVIS JUNIOR
FULL NAME SAMUEL GEORGE DAVIS JUNIOR
BORN ON 8TH DECEMBER, 1925
PLACE OF BIRTH NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES
DIED ON 16TH MAY, 1990 (AGED 66)
PLACE OF DEATH BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
RESTING PLACE FOREST LAWN MEMORIAL PARK, GLENDALE, CALIFORNIA
OCCUPATIONS SINGER, TAP DANCER, ACTOR, COMEDIAN
YEARS ACTIVE 1928-1990
SPOUSES LORAY WHITE (MARRIED IN 1958, DIVORCED IN 1959),

MAY BRITT (MARRIED IN 1960, DIVORCED IN 1968),

ALTOVISE GORE (MARRIED IN 1970)

CHILDREN FOUR
PARENTS SAMMY DAVIS SENIOR, ELVERA SANCHEZ

 

Musical Career of Sammy Davis Junior includes:

GENRES TRADITIONAL POP, BIG BAND, JAZZ, EASY LISTENING, SHOW TUNES, SWING, BLUES
INSTRUMENTS VOCALS
LABELS DECCA, REPRISE, VERVE, MOTOWN, MGM, RCA, 2OTH CENTURY, APPLAUSE
FORMERLY OF RAT PACK
WEBSITE www.sammydavisjr.com

 

 

7. Michelle Dorrance

Michelle Dorrance is known for her tap-dancing skills, her acting skills, and her teaching skills. In short, Michelle Dorrance is a tap dancer, actor, teacher, director, and choreographer. Being the founder and director of the Dorrance Dance, she is known for her uniqueness and creativity. Michelle Dorrance is awarded with the MacArthur “Genius Grant.” Through our sources, we get to know that Dorrance is currently working as a choreographer at New York City Center. Michelle Dorrance lives in Brooklyn, New York.

FULL NAME MICHELLE DORRANCE
DATE OF BIRTH 12TH SEPTEMBER, 1979
PLACE OF BIRTH CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA, UNITED STATES
AGE FORTY-FOUR YEARS (44)
NATIONALITY AMERICAN
OCCUPATIONS TAP DANCER, CHOREOGRAPHER, TEACHER, ACTRESS

Here below, we have some of the works choreographed by Michelle Dorrance:

  • Bluegrass in 2004
  • A Suite for the City from 2005 to 2007
  • The Blues in ‘D’ in 2009
  • A Petite Suite from 2010 to 2011
  • Remembering Jimmy in 2011
  • Three to One in 2011
  • Jungle Blues in 2012
  • The Twelve/Eleven in 2012
  • SoundSpace in 2013
  • Designation Moon in 2019
  • DD128QR in 2020
  • It’s Your Choice in 2021

Here is the list of awards that are won by Michelle Dorrance in her lifetime

  • USA Doris Duke Fellow Award in 2016
  • JUBA! Award in 2016
  • MacArthur “Genius Grant” Award in 2015
  • Herb Alpert Award in 2014
  • ATDF’s Hoofer Award in 2014
  • Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award in 2013
  • Princess Grace Award in 2012
  • Bessie Award Winner in 2011

 

8. Ginger Rogers

During the Golden Era of Hollywood, Ginger Rogers was born and later became an amazing tap dancer, actress, and singer of Hollywood. She starred in the movie “Kitty Foyle” in 1940, and won the Academy Award for Best Actress. During the 1930s, she performed in RKO’s musical movies pairing with Fred Astaire, who is also a tap dancer himself. She was a common face on the stage and the television, as well as a common voice on the radio. She worked in numerous movies and musical films that were so much popular in her time.

NAME GINGER ROGERS
REAL NAME VIRGINIA KATHERINE MCMATH
BORN ON 16TH JULY, 1911
PLACE OF BIRTH INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI, UNITED STATES
DIED ON 25TH APRIL, 1995 (AGED 83)
PLACE OF DEATH RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
CEMETERY AT OAKWOOD MEMORIAL PARK CEMETERY
NATIONALITY AMERICAN
OCCUPATIONS TAP DANCER, ACTRESS, SINGER
YEARS ACTIVE 1925-1987
BEST WORKS KITTY FOYLE, TOP HAT, VIVACIOUS LADY, THE GAY DIVORCEE, SWING TIME, 42ND STREET
POLITICAL PARTY INDULGED IN REPUBLICANS
SPOUSES JACK PEPPER (MARRIED IN 1929, DIVORCED IN 1931),

LEW AYRES (MARRIED IN 1934, DIVORCED IN 1940),

JACK BRIGGS (MARRIED IN 1943, DIVORCED IN 1949),

JACQUES BERGERAC (MARRIED IN 1953, DIVORCED IN 1957),

WILLIAM MARSHALL (MARRIED IN 1961, DIVORCED IN 1969)

RELATIVES LELA ROGERS (MOTHER),

PHYLLIS FRASER (COUSIN),

VINTON HAYWORTH (UNCLE)

WEBSITE www.gingerrogers.com

 

 

9. Bill Robinson

Bill Robinson, lovingly known as ‘Bojangles’ was the first black entertainer who was paid mostly during the first half of the 20th century. He was a tap dancer, actor, and singer. His lengthy career executed some major changes in the Hollywood Industry. He worked in the recording industry, the Hollywood industry, television series, and radio.

NAME BILL ROBINSON
REAL NAME LUTHER ROBINSON
NICKNAME BOJANGLES
BORN ON 25TH MAY, 1878
PLACE OF BIRTH RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES
DIED ON 25TH NOVEMBER, 1949 (AGED 71)
RESTING PLACE CEMETERY OF THE EVERGREENS
NATIONALITY AMERICAN
OCCUPATIONS TAP DANCER, ACTOR, ACTIVIST
YEARS ACTIVE 1890-1949
SPOUSES LENA CHASE (MARRIED ON 1907, DIVORCED ON 1922),

FANNIE S. CLAY (MARRIED ON 1922, DIVORCED ON 1943),

ELAINE PLAINES (MARRIED ON 1944)

Some of Bill Robinson’s most popular works include:

  • Hello, Bill in 1929
  • Dixiana in 1930
  • The Little Colonel in 1935
  • In old Kentucky in 1935
  • Just around the corner in 1938
  • Stormy Weather in 1943

10. Gene Kelly

Last but not least, Gene Kelly was an energetic and enthusiastic tap dancer, actor, singer, choreographer, and director. He founded a new style of athletic dancing and infused it with tap dancing. His dance was known as the “dance of the common man” since it was easy to follow. His best works included An American in Paris in 1951, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

FULL NAME EUGENE CURRAN KELLY
BORN ON 23RD AUGUST, 1912
PLACE OF BIRTH PITTSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES
DIED ON 2ND FEBRUARY, 1996 (AGED 83)
PLACE OF DEATH BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
NATIONALITY AMERICAN
CITIZENSHIP AMERICAN,

IRISH (GRANTED FOR LIFE)

EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
OCCUPATIONS TAP DANCER, ACTOR, SINGER, CHOREOGRAPHER, DIRECTOR
YEARS ACTIVE 1931-1994
BEST WORKS SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN,

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS,

ON THE TOWN,

INVITATION TO THE DANCE

POLITICAL PARTY INDULGED IN DEMOCRATIC
SPOUSES BETSY BLAIR (MARRIED IN 1941, DIVORCED IN 1957),

JEANNE COYNE (MARRIED IN 1960, DIED IN 1973),

PATRICIA WARD (MARRIED IN 1990)

CHILDREN THREE

Conclusive Insights

We hope you liked reading our blog about famous tap dancers and you found it relevant to the search that you have made. As stated earlier, our blog focuses on some of the most famous tap dancers, and about them in detail.

Thank you for your time!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Who is the most famous tap dancer?

Ans) Eleanor Powell

2. Who is the “King of Tap Dancing”?

Ans) Bill “Bojangles” Robinson

3. Who was the first famous tap dancer?

Ans) William Henry Lane

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